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Helping People Design Video Games

Video games have become a huge business, bringing in billions of dollars each year. But it’s also an industry that’s really hard to break into. Even though there have been a number of very successful independent titles made on shoestring budgets that garnered massive audience appeal, there are still many, many more that never break out, even if they’re really well made.

This is where a Minnesota based nonprofit called Glitch comes in. Glitch is basically an arts charity, only instead of helping fund artists who paint or sculpt, they’re helping people get into the gaming industry.

Finding and making the kinds of connections that can land prospective game designers jobs in the industry can be difficult, but Glitch pairs young designers up with established professionals to mentor them. It helps young designers develop games that they can showcase and, ideally, use to get into the industry. So far they’ve helped designers from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas in the six years that the organization has been around.

While helping people design games may not seem as important as, say, saving an endangered species or protecting civil rights, one could argue that it’s at least as important as funding a symphony. Perhaps even more so. 60% of Americans play video games and most of them are between the ages of 18 and 35.

But the most popular games tend to be the most available, and those tend to be the same tried and true game over and over. More and more people are branching out and looking for new and different gaming experiences, but those can be hard to find, especially when the big companies aren’t interested in anything that can’t rake in millions. But organizations like Glitch help bring in new, unique designers interested in making games that explore something other than the standard white male power fantasy, and getting more diverse games out there is certainly a good cause.

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Organizations Profiles

Dave Chappelle Shoots Hoops, Serves Pancakes for Charity

Dave Chappelle Shoots Hoops, Serves Pancakes for CharityDave Chappelle Shoots Hoops, Serves Pancakes for Charity
Featureflash / Shutterstock

Dave Chappelle is best known as a comedian, but as it turns out, he’s a philanthropist, too. Last week, Chappelle participated in an event that raised money for the Timberwolves’ Fast Break Foundation, which provides support and hands-on programs for Minnesota youth.

Supportive fans purchased tickets to get a chance to shoot hoops with Chappelle, and afterwards everyone who participated was served pancakes by the famous comedian and others.

“I’d want to take credit for this charity event, but all I did was lend my participation,” Chappelle said humbly. “There are a lot of people who worked real hard to make this thing happen and the people that came were the onew who were driving it, and I heard they raised over $30,000.”

Though the actor, comedian, and producer is humble about his participation, Minnesotans wanted to honor him for his help; he was given a celebrity star on the wall of First Avenue in Minneapolis.

“I looked up and I saw that star that said Dave Chappelle. It was like getting the key to the city. It was something else. That was really cool man,” he said. “I don’t have no star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or none of that, but I got that one in Minneapolis at First Avenue and that is all right with me, that’s plenty.”

Dave Chappelle’s hugely popular standup show, Chappelle’s Show, ran for two seasons beginning in 2003. However, Chappelle abruptly left the show in 2005 after saying he was unhappy with the direction the show was taking and the effect it was having on his life.

He took a hiatus in South Africa, later saying, “Coming here I don’t have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I’m interested in the kind of person I’ve got to become. I want to be well rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well balanced. I’ve got to check my intentions, man.”

Chappelle now lives in Ohio with his wife and children on a 65-acre farm, where he says “you don’t need $50 million to live around these parts, just a nice smile and a kind way about you.”